This blog is written to introduce the newest member of the CreateATest family, our A Level section. I have been teaching Maths and Further Maths for many years now, and we have two problems.
Firstly, we struggle to assess our students until they’ve covered entire modules, because we use past papers to assess them. Incidentally, this is also problematic as I began to suspect that students worked out which paper we were going to use and prepared accordingly! Since we were only assessing at the end of modules, interventions weren’t happening early enough and struggling students were slipping through the cracks.
Secondly, we didn’t use our data formatively. Our assessment was essentially thus: give them a paper, mark it, give them a grade, use that to predict what they’re going to get in the final exam. This would be completely unacceptable at KS4 and yet it was standard practise at KS5. Suddenly, students who found topics challenging became lost causes and the wide array of procedures designed to combat underachievement disappeared. This meant that we were focused on teaching rather than learning and our results suffered.
A Level CreateATest is designed to combat these two issues. We have questions for all of the Core modules as well as Statistics 1 and Mechanics 1. Other modules will be added over the coming weeks and months. You can create entire papers on one topic, or the first two topics you cover. This means that students engage immediately with the module as they know they are going to be assessed almost immediately. They also have no idea what the questions are going to be as they’ve never been on a past paper.
Finally, by marking the papers and inputting the data, CAT will analyse which topics have been taught most and least effectively, and which topics individual students struggle with. This will allow you to target your interventions more effectively and address issues before it’s too late.
It’s time to apply the same diagnostic approach to KS5 as we do at KS4. Your students will benefit immediately and your results will improve. Together, we’ll improve KS5 assessment, and therefore teaching, throughout the country.